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Abandoned Furnaces in Villages

As the British establish political power in India the production of Wootz steel stopped and iron smelting furnaces were abandoned.


Reasons for the Decline of Iron Smelting

  • The furnaces were most often built of clay and sun-dried bricks. The smelting was done by men while women worked the bellows, pumping air that kept the charcoal burning.


Iron Smelting Furnace

  • When the colonial government prevented people from entering the reserved forests, the iron smelters could not find wood for charcoal to light the furnace. Neither could they get iron ore.

  • Many iron smelters had to give up their craft and looked for other means of livelihood.

  • By the late nineteenth century iron and steel was being imported from Britain.

  • Ironsmiths in India began using the imported iron to manufacture utensils and implements. This lowered the demand for iron produced by local iron smelters.

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